By Riley Kaminer
Investing in property may be a popular way to get an additional income stream. But with interest rates continuing to skyrocket, the dream of owning an investment property is increasingly out of reach.
Miami startup Downpayments, which just came out of stealth this week, is here to help. The company has developed a digital platform that offers interest-free down payments for property investors.
Sound too good to be true? Not so fast – the model has already been proven in Australia, where founder and CEO Godfrey Dinh [pictured above] launched a similar platform, Futurerent, in 2019. Since then, Futurerent has grown to have 11 full-time employees, having raised $7.7 million and achieved over $3.34 million per year in revenue.
Downpayments already has a few feathers in its cap as well. The company has raised $31.8 million in debt funding from Partners for Growth and $1 million in equity financing from Second Century Ventures, which is backed by the 1.4 million-member National Association of Realtors.
“In Australia, they’ve empowered countless buyers to overcome down payment hurdles. Now, they’re tackling the U.S. market where skyrocketing housing costs outpace incomes and savings,” Dave Garland, managing director of Second Century Ventures, told TechCrunch. “Their unique model lets buyers spread down payments over time, interest-free or at low rates, opening homeownership doors to a whole new segment.”
Florida is playing a key role in Downpayments’ US expansion, as it is the first place stateside where investors can apply for funding. The platform offers a unique, tech-enabled alternative to cash-out refinances (which are very costly, with today’s high interest rates) and home equity lines of credit (which are not available for investment properties).
Downpayments provides buyer representation as a registered in-house brokerage. This enables them to offer interest-free down payments, as the startup’s costs are actually covered by the buyer. That way, Downpayments also earns a commission from the transaction.
“It is not dissimilar to the BNPL industry where the merchant pays to help cover the cost of finance for the buyer, albeit with Downpayments, additional services are provided to the buyer to create more value for our clients,” Dinh said.
Dinh’s goals are much more lofty than simply facilitating these transactions, however. “We started Downpayments to empower investors on their journey to financial independence,” he said in a statement.
“There has been very little innovation in this area, but with an abundance of data and our proprietary technology, we’re able to help people with one of the biggest purchases of their lives, Dinh continued. “We are particularly excited to begin serving property investors in Florida, where there is a tremendous level of real estate activity that we believe could grow with easier access to capital.”
It’s not all good news for South Florida’s proptech innovators though. The last few months saw the demise of Here and Rigor, both of which aimed to make real estate investment more accessible to the general public.
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